What’s next for Apple? The once rather cultish purveyor of the Macintosh, reworked into a global tech juggernaut rivaling Exxon Mobil as the nation’s most valuable company, is adjusting to the sudden resignation of its legendary co-founder Steve Jobs as CEO.
** QUICK HITS. As the hunt for deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi intensifies, the UN Security Council today agreed to the release of $1.5 billion for the Libyan rebels. Over $100 billion is reportedly at play in accounts around the world. … A bill to kill California’s death penalty was shelved today in a state Assembly committee. Despite its problems, the penalty of capital punishment for premeditated murder is still heavily backed by voters, including this writer. … The same committee also shelved legislation which would have brought the controversial high-speed rail project directly under the Brown Administration. The governor reiterated his support for the program and recently made two high-profile appointments to its board.
** JERRY-RIGGING: BROWN SERVES UP A TAX SWAP JOB CREATION PLAN. Governor Jerry Brown today rolled out part of what he’s been discussing privately with regard to creating jobs in California’s still distressed economy. He did not get into pruning the thicket of regulations today, but he did go down the path of public-private partnerships to stimulate economic development.
His venture today centered on changing the business tax structure, proposing to close one complex corporate tax break (which your political analyst admittedly does not fully understand) granted as part of the hard-won big state budget deal of 2009 and redirect that revenue to another form of “tax expenditure,” this in the form of more targeted tax incentives to create jobs. This is in keeping with his approach during his first stint as governor, in which he pursued targeted tax cuts and credits to help the then developing high tech industry. The difference being that this move is revenue neutral.
It’s a clever move, that has the effect of gaining support from significant elements of the business community while others stand in opposition. Will it pass? My default answer still has to be no, since the dominant philosophy among Republican legislators is always in favor of tax cuts only, and this is a rejiggering of tax cuts which some corporations will experience as a tax increase.
In illustration of my theory, the California Republican Party immediately hit Brown for “proposing tax increases at the same time that he is proposing tax breaks.”
Brown was joined by Democratic legislative leaders Darrell Steinberg and John Perez, and executives from biotech giant Genentech, aerospace giant Boeing, electric car leader Tesla, Abbott Labs, SunPower, and the Teamsters.
The restoration of the revenues cut during the 2009 budget deal would be used to expand a tax credit for small businesses worth hundreds of millions of dollars by expanding both the eligibility level for the businesses (from 20 employees t 50) and the tax credit for each new hire (from $3000 to $4000). And it would provide some $1 billion in tax relief to businesses that purchase new manufacturing equipment, exempting start-ups in their first three years from the state portion of the sales tax (roughly half) and an exemption of 3 percent for all other firms.
Brown’s plan would do this by requiring a “mandatory single sales factor,” a term of art meaning the ending of the ability of corporations to pick the basis on which they calculate their tax liability, limiting it to sales earned in California rather than basing it on sales, employees and investments in California. California is one of two states allowing corporations to pick the basis of their tax liability, which they can do each year in order to pick the lowest amount of tax.
But it may all be moot, at least as long as Republicans barely hang on to a third of each house of the state legislature.
The Washington Monument has been closed indefinitely after structural engineers found cracks near the top following the Virginia earthquake. Now a hurricane is about to hit the East Coast.
** NEW POLL: BUSH STILL BLAMED FAR MORE THAN OBAMA ON ECONOMY. A new poll for the Associated Press indicates that, despite the fiscal earthquake occasioned by the deficit/debt deal near debacle, former President George W. Bush is still held responsible for the nation’s economic woes by far more than those who blame President Barack Obama.
51% blame Bush. Only 31% blame Obama.
But perspectives on the economy have sunk sharply, nonetheless, over the last month, so Obama has no laurels to rest upon.
Yet his re-elect number is holding up, at an even 47%. Which is better than where some previously re-elected presidents were at this point.
In addition, Congressional Democrats fare markedly better than their Republican counterparts on the economy, 44% to 36%, an ominous sign for the new House majority.
“Though more Americans see the economy in bad shape than did at the beginning of the summer, their views of whether to re-elect President Barack Obama have barely changed – and a majority blame George Bush for the problems, a new [AP/GFK] poll says,” Politico writes.
“Despite the perception of a weakening recovery, there has been no significant change in the number of people who say he deserves re-election: 47 percent as opposed to 48 percent two months ago. That’s a statistical dead heat with those who favor a change in the White House,” AP writes. “And more Americans still blame former President George W. Bush rather than Obama for the economic distress. Some 31 percent put the bulk of the blame on Obama, while 51 percent point to his Republican predecessor. … Obama also fares better than Congress in the blame department. Some 44 percent put “a lot” or “most” of the blame on Republicans while 36 percent point to congressional Democrats.”
“More than 6 in 10 — 63 percent — disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy. Nearly half, or 48 percent, “strongly” disapproved. Approval of his economic performance now stands at just 36 percent, his worst approval rating on the issue in AP-GfK polling.”
A one million pound bounty has been placed on the head of deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi. Meanwhile, British SAS commandos are reportedly involved in the search.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … WHY OBAMA WAS RIGHT ON LIBYA AND BIN LADEN, AND WRONG ON AFGHANISTAN.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Massachusetts.
He has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings at Blue Heron Farm on Martha’s Vineyard.
Obama is on family vacation there for the rest of the month, though he is expected to participate in the dedication ceremony for the new Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington on Sunday. Assuming that, that the event is not disrupted by Hurricane Irene.
He has no scheduled public events today.
While mopping up operations continue in Tripoli, and Libyan rebels contemplate a move on the last big Gaddafi stronghold, his home town of Sirte, the hunt is on for the deposed dictator. (Mopping up, incidentally, is no stroll in the park. More people will die and there will be some intense bursts of combat.)
A big bounty has been placed on Gaddafi’s head by Libyan merchants, some one million pounds. And people who won’t be able to claim the prize are on the hunt for him as well; namely special forces troops from Britain, France, Jordan, and Qatar.
As this is underway, Gaddafi’s son Saadi announced that he is looking for a total ceasefire. But it’s unclear how much influence he has over the remaining command and control infrastructure of the regime.
Meanwhile, the International Contact Group on Libya — comprised of more than 30 nations as well as representatives of the UN, EU, Arab League, and Gulf Cooperation Council — is meeting today in Istanbul, Turkey to find ways to get immediate nation-building assistance to the Libyan rebels.
New Republican presidential frontrunner Rick Perry announced that he will take part in the Reagan Library debate on September 7th in Simi Valley outside Los Angeles, his maiden voyage at the presidential campaign debate level. If he holds up well there, he will be in strong shape.
Obama is monitoring a variety of other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab awakening, AfPak, and Iraq.
War Zone Times: Libya is nine hours ahead of Pacific time, Iraq is ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
Steve Jobs, in my view easily the most important figure in the technology business, resigned yesterday afternoon as CEO of Apple.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Sacramento.
At 11 AM, Brown joins with with business, labor, and legislative leaders to announce a proposal on job growth at an event in the Governor’s Press Conference Room in the state Capitol.
Part of what he will announce is a rather complicated tax proposal trading single sales factor on corporate taxes for sales tax exemptions and jobs tax credits.
Brown’s old friend, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced yesterday afternoon that he is stepping down as head of the company immediately, due to his undisclosed medical condition. Jobs, who previously underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer and had a liver transplant, has been on medical leave since January, though he has been very involved in product announcements. Jobs, seen as a latter day wizard when it comes to technology and entertainment markets, will be Apple’s chairman of the board and chief operating officer Tim Cook steps up to the CEO slot.
Brown appointed Jobs to the California Commission on Industrial Innovation during his first governorship.
After he left the governorship, Brown created the non-profit National Commission on Industrial Innovation, on which Jobs also served.
I’ll have a lot more about Steve Jobs, whom I met when I was assistant to the chairman of Apple’s then marketing and public relations firm, Regis McKenna Inc. McKenna also served as president of the National Commission on Industrial Innovation, chaired by Brown, on which Jobs served.
** OBAMA’S BIG DISCONNECT. There’s no question that President Barack Obama is an outstanding orator, able to articulate important messages. But he has a big disconnect going on the biggest issue for most Americans. Even on some things that he has actually focused on of great importance, like energy prices.
Through all of 2010, as I wrote in my November 2010 election “pre-mortem”, “Obama’s Big Mistake,” here on the Huffington Post, Obama was just about to “pivot” to the economy. But it never quite happened.
Actually, the ever abortive nature of the pivot to the economy began in December 2009, when Obama suddenly had to deal with the near miss attack of a jihadist bomber in the skies over Detroit. After that, it was always something, always a reason not to pivot to the economy.
Now Obama has a big disconnect, surprisingly so, on energy costs, a major downdraft for the stumbling economic recovery. Amidst the good news for his much-criticized Libya policy, and as he contemplates his post-Labor Day moves, he needs to correct some problems. … From my August 22nd column.
** OF “A THEORY THAT’S OUT THERE,” GOP STRAW POLLS, MARTHA’S VINEYARD VACATIONS, AND OTHER FOLLIES. Who says that August is the silly season?
* “A THEORY THAT’S OUT THERE.” I love Rick Perry. I really do. With Michele Bachmann, even though she’s listening to her smart advisors and doing things Sarah Palin can’t, like speak in sentences and even paragraphs, you know you’ve got a fringe character no matter how many supporters she’s attracting. That’s supporters in a party in which half the members believed that the president of the United States is really an illegal alien, and maybe even the Manchurian Candidate.
But Perry is a different kind of deal. He’s the governor of a big state, the second biggest, in fact. He has to be a serious figure. Right? I mean, he’s got that whole Texas Mirage, er, Miracle thing going and all. … From my August 18th essay.
** HARRY POTTER: A CONFESSION, AND AN APPRECIATION. … From my August 11th essay.
** LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE: THE BIG BUDGET DEAL AND OBAMA’S REAL PROBLEM. … From my August 8th essay.
** JERRY BROWN MAKES SOME MOVES. … From my August 1st essay.
** OVER AND OUT, ABOVE AND BEYOND: IS THE SPACE AGE OVER OR JUST BEGINNING? … From my July 28th essay.
** OBAMA KABUKI: THE BUDGET AND THE POLITICS OF POSITIONING. … From my July 13th column.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in three wars in the region, and the Arab awakening underway, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $84 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $50 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
Your posts are welcome in the Forum. You can send me a private tip by clicking on the “Contact” button in the upper right.